Why Boise Murder Didn’t Trend on Twitter
© Jack Cashill
The glee was palpable on Twitter Sunday morning. According to first reports, a man with the benignly American name Timmy Kinner had rampaged through a Boise apartment complex slashing refugees with a knife.
Timmy! Idaho! Refugees! This was a crime made in progressive heaven. True, it would have been juicier if Kinner had used a gun, ideally an AR-15, but this story had lots of potential.
The thrill of its retelling would have more than compensated for the letdown Twitter trolls felt after the Annapolis shooting story fell flat. A few typical responses:
“We all know who is causing this. Hatred is spreading like a disease.”
“Stabbing of nine, to include refugees and children, in #Boise-- Mr. President, stop the hate tactics.”
“Since he's made racism family friendly and routinely demonizes immigrants, don't expect to hear a single word of condolence from lunatic bigot Trump.”
It was not just anonymous trolls who hopped on the Exploitation Express Sunday morning. “Nine people have been hospitalized after a stabbing attack in refugee complex in Boise, Idaho,” tweeted NPR. “Police say suspect yelling ‘MAGA’ as an apparent hate crime against immigrants."
One would have hoped that the Twitter monitors at NPR would have been a bit more circumspect. Just a few days earlier, before the bodies had even been counted at Annapolis, a young Massachusetts reporter named Conor Berry tweeted that the shooter “dropped his #MAGA hat on newsroom floor before opening fire.” That was Berry’s last tweet as a working journalist.
Alas, Kinner disappointed those who were keening for a Great White Mope even more than Ramos had in Annapolis. For starters, Kinner was black. There is nothing “Idaho” or “MAGA” about him. He was just passing through from Los Angeles. Clearly deranged, he attacked a children’s birthday party because the people he hoped to attack weren’t home.
Had Kinner been white, he could have expected the media coverage that greeted a drunken peckerwood named Adam Purinton. In February 2017, Purinton shot and killed an Indian engineer in suburban Kansas City thinking the man was an Iranian.
The media nationwide ran with this story and shamelessly tied the shooting to the rise of Donald Trump. To date, the Kansas City Star has posted 109 articles on this one crime alone.
The Star editors have dedicated as much ink to Purinton’s Indian victim as they did to all 149 people murdered in Kansas City in 2017 combined—literally.
By contrast, the media want nothing to do with guys like Timmy Kinner.
The 23-year-old Scott is black. The six people he is accused of killing were white. The five male victims, all middle-aged, were shot in surprise attacks as they went about their daily business, several of them walking their dogs in a suburban Kansas City neighborhood.
No, of course not. From the media’s perspective only white men—or, in the New York Times famous phrasing, “white Hispanics”-- are capable of hate
“Fredrick Demond Scott” never trended on Twitter. Despite the fact that he terrorized Kansas City for a year as he picked off one victim after another, the story did not have legs enough to leave Kansas City.